By KBB.com Editors
Fresh from a major makeover last year, the Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx wagon continue to offer consumers a strong incentive to move away from the leading imports and come home to Chevrolet. Loaded with unique features and based on a proven European platform, known in General Motors as the Epsilon, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx have strong appeal to consumers looking to get out of their gas-thirsty SUVs and into something fuel efficient, roomy and fun to drive. Although their engines and transmissions are not yet up to the standards set by Toyota and Honda, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx are far from outdated. Unfortunately, the pair still has some catching up to do in the area of residual and long-term resale values.
If you're looking for a mid-size sedan or hatchback with generous rear seat leg- and headroom plus an ample cargo hold, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx should be on your list. Those who spend hours in their cars will appreciate the excellent front seats.
If you're partial to Japanese-quality interiors, the Malibu probably won't cut it. Though clean, the overall interior is not up to the standard set by Mazda, Toyota and Hyundai. There is no manual transmission option, either.
The 3.5-liter V6 is fitted with variable valve timing (VVT) and front and rear head-curtain airbags are now standard on LS and LT trims.
Driving Impressions The Epsilon platform on which the Malibu rides shows itself once you start tossing the sedan into turns. The stiff body and firm suspension give up very little in the...way of body lean, squat or dive. The Malibu easily pushes through tight turns, hindered only by its touring tires that squeal once they near their limits. At a standstill, the power steering is so light you can turn the wheel with one finger. Once in motion, however, the steering quickly firms up to return accurate and linear road feel. The four-speed automatic performs admirably, with a convenient up/down shift button that lets you toggle through gears one through threea useful device when driving in snow.
Up/Down Shift Button
The up/down shift button on the automatic transmission lever lets you toggle between gears one through three.
Fold-Flat Passenger Seat
The Malibu's fold-flat front passenger seat increases cargo-hauling capability.
The Malibu's interior features large, legible gauges, a modern and clean center cluster and some of the best seats we've experienced in a Chevrolet. New colors and seat patterns definitely brighten the formerly monotone interior, but the plastic on the dash and door panels still needs some work. As for dimensions, the Malibu offers plenty of leg-, hip- and headroom both front and rear. The sedan's huge trunk also expands easily via the folding rear seat, while the Malibu Maxx wagon offers a sliding fore-and-aft split rear seat.Exterior
Though handsome, the Malibu's exterior sheetmetal holds nothing earthshaking. Standout features include large jewel-like headlamps, styling lines that curve over the front and rear wheel arches and a bright chrome bar splitting the grille. While the sedan and wagon are virtually identical from the B-pillar forward, the Malibu Maxx distinguishes itself via a large flip-up hatchback and an additional six inches between the front and rear wheels.
The Malibu LS includes, as standard equipment, a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine, air conditioning, power door locks, four cup holders, dual power mirrors, power driver's seat height adjustment, two 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, tachometer, cruise control, power windows, AM/FM stereo with CD, front and rear head-curtain airbags and full wheel covers. The LT trim adds the 3.5-liter V6 (Maxx only), 16-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, body-colored mirrors, door handles and rocker panels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls. The LTZ adds automatic air conditioning, heated mirrors, side-impact airbags, heated leather seats, six-way power driver's seat, 17-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and power adjustable pedals.
Popular options include a power sunroof, OnStar, front seat side-impact airbags, six-way power driver's seat, auto-dimming interior mirror, XM Satellite Radio, remote control starter, rear-seat DVD entertainment system (Maxx only) and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.
The standard 2.2-liter engine is an underwhelming performer, but returns outstanding fuel economy considering the Malibu's size. The V6 models offer better power, with city/highway fuel economy almost equal to the four-cylinder. The new 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing accelerates briskly, with very little growl even under full throttle. Passing power is also excellent and, once up to speed, the engine is barely audible inside the passenger compartment.
2.2-liter in-line 4
144 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
155 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34
217 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
217 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (sedan), 20/29 (Maxx)
By Malibu2006 (MI) on Sunday, December 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 275,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy steering, Great ground Cleaence!!"
Cons: "Hubcaps rattle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The only car I have ever owned to make 275,000 miles and never have trans work, or engine work. Still runs well. Just put new shocks and struts on it.. Want to see how far it will go! Love this car!!"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Jimmy G (CA) on Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful, efficient, very comfortable"
Cons: "Interior kinda plasticky, Not the most beautiful"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have put 15000 miles on this car, I bought it from an elderly gentleman who did something to the transmission causing it to prematurely fail. I knew what was wrong and had it replaced by a trusted shop, it has preformed flawlessly since. It is a shame these cars got a bad rap from an early steering issue recall. It runs and handles like new with 100000 miles on it ! It has loads of power and cargo room and I consistently get 27+ mpg averages."
By llh on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I don't own this caroverall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "rerrible car. CD player ate my old springsteen"
Cons: "computers and repair costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Step on brakes, brakes lights go off, 5 seconds later they go on and stay on until you actually hit the brakes when you really need them. I have also noticed the same issue with other 05 malibus on the road. The computer is not too expensive but, the certified dealer repair cost are extremely costly because the claim to have to " program" the onboard computwr when in reality all the do is hook up to the computer, get on the internet enter the vin and they then have the computer "programmed". Other issues related are turn signals. The left front turn signal would inrease in its speed whe one of the tailights burnt out. This happebed every 3 to 3.5 months. I refused to pay the labor and programming fees and got rid of it. I now have a Fusion."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Momofteens (KS) on Thursday, November 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Has been virtually maintenance free for us!"
Cons: "Seat comfort on long trips"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had this car for 7 1/2 years with no problems what so ever. Only regular maintenance - oil, tires, etc. The only thing we've complained about has been the comfort of the seats on long trips."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By chach (VA) on Sunday, November 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "good value"
Cons: "no flash if that's what you're looking for"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Not a performance or plush vehicle by any means but is a reliable car that has very good carrying capacity and gets me where I need to go pretty efficiently."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Dawn (SD) on Friday, October 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, great price, reliable, good gas mileage, etc"
Cons: "cant think of any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Best most reliable car I ever owned. V-6 engine has a lot of get up and go. Takes me through much snow and ice. Cant say enough good things about this car."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful